Smartphone use before bedtime might impact sleep, and daytime tiredness

Smartphone or cellphones are a useful tool and when used properly can have many benefits.
Many students frequently use cell-phones and often very close to bedtime. Students may not know that cellphone use might impact their ability to sleep at night and this might impact their daytime energy levels.
This study explored the relationship between cellphone use at bedtime and sleep.

Who was studied?
532 students aged 18–39 were recruited from lectures or via e-mail (1).
Mean time of media use per night was 46.6 minutes.

What were the study results?
Mobile phone usage for playing/surfing/texting was positively associated with insomnia.
Computer usage for playing/surfing/reading was positively associated with insomnia.

What do the results mean?
Computer or cellphone use in bed before bedtime may worsen your sleep.

How does screen time impact sleep?
There are various potential causes:
Media use might make it take longer to fall asleep (2).
Media use might mean less time spent sleeping, thus reducing sleep (3).
Bright light emitted by electronic devices might impact sleep quality (4).

Light exposure might be temporarily activating you (5-6).

Are you sleeping poorly? Are you tired during the day? Is screen time before bed impacting your sleep? Will cutting down on screen time improve your sleep? How do you know?

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA, OSU-CCS Psychiatrist
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References
1. Fossum IN, et al. The Association Between Use of Electronic Media in Bed Before Going to Sleep and Insomnia Symptoms, Daytime Sleepiness, Morningness, and Chronotype. Behavioral Sleep Medicine. Volume 12, Issue 5, 2014, pages 343- 357. Published online: 14 Jul 2014. DOI: 10.1080/15402002.2013.819468.

2. Higuchi, S., Motohashi, Y., Liu, Y., & Maeda, A. (2005). Effects of playing a computer game using a bright display on presleep physiological variables, sleep latency, slow wave sleep and REM sleep. Journal of Sleep Research, 14, 267–273.
3. Van den Bulck, J. (2004). Television viewing, computer game playing, and Internet use and self-reported time to bed and time out of bed in secondary-school children. Sleep, 27, 101–104.
4. Cain, N., & Gradisar, M. (2010). Electronic media use and sleep in school-aged children and adolescents: A review. Sleep Medicine, 11, 735–742.
5. Cajochen, C., et al. (2011). Evening exposure to a light-emitting diodes (LED)-backlit computer screen affects circadian physiology and cognitive performance. Journal of Applied Physiology, 110, 1432–1438.
6. Campbell, S. S., et al. (1995). Light treatment for sleep disorders: Consensus report. III. Alerting and activating effects. Journal of Biological Rhythms, 10, 129–132.

You may not need 8 hours per night of sleep for optimal academic performance

Man reaching for alarm clock

In a large study(1) published in 2013, researchers examined self-reported sleeping habits of about 160,000 users of Lumnosity® who took spatial-memory and matching tests and about 127,000 users who took an arithmetic test. Optimal cognitive performance occurred at 7 hours per night of sleep, with worse performance among those with more or less sleep.

While you may not need exactly 8 hours of sleep per night and guidelines for optimal sleep are likely to be updated in the future(2).  It is however, important to keep in mind that not everyone needs the same amount of sleep, and too little sleep, just as too much sleep can impact your brain and academic performance.

As the new semester approaches, have you considered how sleep is impacting your academic performance, and by how much?  What will you do differently?

  1. Sternberg, et al. Front Hum Neurosci. 2013; 7: 292.  Published online Jun 20, 2013. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00292.  The largest human cognitive performance dataset reveals insights into the effects of lifestyle factors and aging.
  2. http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/sleep-experts-close-in-on-the-optimal-nights-sleep-1405984970?mobile=y 

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes.  With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.